Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Seoul 2011: Sightseeing

Seoul pictures! I took over 900 plus photos on my 9-days vacation before reducing it to 738 (and that's not counting photos from my Sister's camera...). In reality, I think I took more, but cos my card memory ran outta space, I had to keep deleting photos in my last two days there and ration precious memory space. There was just so much to photograph.

I'm sorting the photo into categories rather than days, as it would be easier to read and there's going to be four main parts - sightseeing, shopping (entertaining), korean food and cafe culture. More on each category later.

I've condensed the bulk of photos that I've edited and posted on my Facebook album as the I doubt anyone would appreciate waiting for a webpage to load all of the 140ish photos I've picked out to upload and labelled under Sightseeing. These are some of my favourites (especially the ones that are of a single shot instead of a collage), so I hope to share them on the blog.

Places that I went for sightseeing for these photos are - 경복궁(Gyeongbokgong Palace), 쌈지길 (Ssamziegil), 남산골한옥마을 (Namsangol Hanok Village) and 남산 (Nam San).

경복궁 (Gyeongbokgong Palace) is one of the most popular palace in Seoul that is visited by many tourists daily, and the name is roughly translated as "Palace of Shining Happiness". It was built in the Joseon Dynasty and is being restored into its original form prior to its near destruction by the Japanese government in the early 20th century.

경복궁 (Gyeongbokgong Palace)
 Change of guard ceremony

Close up of a dragonfly

The next sightseeing place is an artsy and modern place, but equally interesting as the traditional palace, I spent a short time there just to take in the interesting building structure. I'm talking about 쌈지길 (Ssamziegil), which is a multi-level art, culture and shopping destination located in the heart of Insa-dong. Insa-dong itself is a very artsy area, with numerous shops selling paintings, traditional souvenirs and the whatnots.

I felt that the structure of the building itself was really unique, probably because upon entering, one just follow a footpath that runs continually from the first floor to the rooftop (without the use of stairs!). There are the normal flight of stairs built too of course, but really, why bother when one can just circle your way up the building? Interesting, isn't it?

 Train station muriel

The third place we went was the 남산골한옥마을 (Namsangol Hanok Village). 한옥 (Hanok) refers to traditional Korean houses and the Namsangol Hanok Village allows one to have a glimpse into the past traditional Korean way of living with various room and decor replicas of the Joseon era.

I did found it a bit disconcerting as the site was situated next to a modern Korean neighbourhood. You'll be enjoying the old-schooled atmosphere one moment in one angle, and you turn your head, and you encounter modern architecture. Talk about weird. Then again, it was the same too for the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

 Train stop for Namsangol Hanok Village

Young kid at the present playing a game of the past

The last place we went to was 남산 (Nam San), a popular spot for a fantastic panoramic view of Seoul for both tourists and locals. N Seoul Tower is also located at the top of Nam San, but really, it's a place where all the locals (aka really, the couples) go to declare their undying love for one another. Okay I exaggerate, but really, there are thousands of locks symbolizing the love between couples all over the N Seoul Tower. Love messages on padlocks, quirky locks, big locks, they are everywhere.

If you're heartbroken (or single), you'd best avoid the place as it was swarming with couples when we went, many bringing along their own lock to make their own little love memory. We took the cable car up around 5 or 6pm, and we stayed for about an hour or so to take in the sights. The cable car ride is really stuffy as they pack twenty or more people in one box (without air-conditioning! - the cruelty, tsk tsk) and if you're really unlucky, there'll be people with BO standing next to you, arm outstretch above your head to grab the pole, which is sadly, next to you. My unlucky sister is very well aware of that. Whoops.

I recommend visiting around 5, 6 plus in the summer, lighting is still good for photos, weather is not too hot, and really, do not attempt to visit about 7 in the evening or so. When we alighted at the bottom of the cable car, there was a massive snaking queue waiting to take the cable car up. Scary.

There were several more such lock towers...

Couple that took like FOREVER to lock their lock (therefore blocking my attempt at taking a good picture of the heart structure below)

On the cable car heading down from Nam San

I hope to visit Seoul again soon. There were really alot more sites I wished to go but didn't due to time constraint. Like, I was supposed to go to the Korean Folk Village initially, but it was quite far, so we changed our plans and went to Namsangol Hanok Village instead. Oh and I wanted to go to the DMZ, and Jeju Island, and Namiseom Island, oh get the gist.

Farewell, Seoul (for now). I hope we'll meet again (soon). :)


  1. wow! looks like a really fantastic trip there!

    loving the dandalion shot! so pretty! 

  2. Nami Island is really nice, you should add that to your list when you go back to Seoul.. :)

  3. Love the pictures! Make me miss seoul T_T..what about the food there..would love to see  your take on korean foods..^^

  4. alan: thanks! it was a great trip indeed cant wait to go again next time.
    swee san: i will i will! :)
    morena: thanks. hopefully i'll be able to post the korean food post soon! ;)

  5. Hey michelle can i see the pictures you uploaded into your facebook account? I wanna have more insights in korea before i go. please. :]

  6. hi Linda, the photos on FB are actually basically extra shots of the ones I've posted here (diff angles and all), or photos with me and my sis in it lol. I've set my privacy setting on FB to friends only, sorry about that! Hope you have a fun trip in Korea - take lots of photos! :D


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